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Not having a viable politician to become Chief Minister of Maharashtra .. the woes of the Congress




The current situation must be the most humiliating situation for the Grand Old Party of India. The perception of a corrupt image are hitting the party right where it hurts, and the party cannot do anything much about it, other than its past practice of having another committee to investigate (which has been done many times in the past, typically to calm down any controversy and hope that with time, the corruption stench no longer remains high in the public image). So, there are a number of high-profile corruption scams that have hit the Government and the party hard – whether these be the controversy about the allotment of 2G telecom rights, or about the money made during the Commonwealth Games preparation, or the newer scam about the Adarsh housing society.
It is the Adarsh housing society scam that has really hit the party hard in the state of Maharashtra. One may ask as to what is new, after all, there is a public perception that Governments and the Bureaucracy are very corrupt, and so this scam is another proof of the same level of corruption. However, there is a difference, since in this case, the level of corruption is visible very easily (partly because of a high level of media attention, and also because there is a lot of internal Congress politics at play).

What really happened ? At a very high level, it seems a pretty easy situation (even if all the intricate details are not revealed). There was a piece of land under the occupation of the army, and then a group of people decided that it was in an important location, and there is something very valuable that could be converted into a real value (with the right amount of persuasion). So started a series of steps that attempted to convert all people in the line of approval into being enthusiastic converts for this project, namely by offering them a stake in this project. And the people behind this were truly clued into the system, since they knew the levers to turn and to get approval, no matter which party was in Government.
So, the project was started when the BJP was in power, both in the Center and in the state, and slowly the land was taken over from the defense forces who gave a no approval, even though a housing project in that location poses a security risk to some military installations. The project continued when the Congress was in power both in the Center and in Maharashtra, and involved all the politicians that the Congress has fielded as Chief Ministers of the state (former Chief Ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde and Deshmukh, and current lame-duck Chief Minister Ashok Chavan). Along the way, former army chiefs, navy chiefs, bureaucrats, and politicians all over got flats in this society (which was meant originally for soldiers involved in the Kargil fight with Pakistani intruders, and for which there were a set of entitlements such as the applicant not having another house in Mumbai, and also being below a certain income level).
Now, the Congress is stuck. Their current Chief Minister is a lame-duck, since he has been exposed brutally (having 3 close relatives with flats in the building while denying anything). Apparently the Party President, Madame Sonia Gandhi is very angry with him (one can only take this with a pinch of salt since it is impossible to believe that she does not know about the level of corruption that is present in India); she must be angry that he could not control the exposure and exposed the Congress to such projections.
But, he is determined not to go down so easily; even though he may believe that he will continue to remain the Chief Minister, he is determined to take down other major contenders for the Chief Ministership, such that a less politically powerful person becomes the chief minister, and can be subject to many pressures. Right now, the Congress is leaving him in place, but one can be sure that the party will be projected as highly corrupt during the winter session of parliament.




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